Joan Smalls is astonished by the lack of diversity in fashion.
The Puerto Rican model discussed racial equality in the industry in a powerful op-ed for British Vogue, and said she's stunned that more hasn't been done to wipe out racism.
"The lack of diversity within fashion can be somewhat astonishing. Whether you are a model, photographer, casting director, make-up artist or fashion editor, there is a need for more diversity in every corner of this industry," Joan shared, noting that it was up to the big names in fashion to start the ball rolling.
"Create opportunities for people of colour to shine and show their talent and worth. Create boards, committees, or whatever else you would like to call them that evaluate the professional diversity within a company or establishment and see how they can expand their talent pool to include more people of colour.”
The 32-year-old, who became the first Latina model to represent Estee Lauder, wants "substantiated change", and called on brands, fashion houses and designers to help make the conversation about racial equality the new normal, rather than taboo.
"This is not a passing trend. Leaders of our industry must make it their mission to move forward in the right direction," Joan noted. "There has to be constant inclusion and acceptance in every aspect of the fashion community."
She acknowledged the pressure she feels for having to prove herself, despite her huge success, and encouraged people of colour to keep persevering.
"To those people that try to hold us back, I say to you good luck! We are going to prevail and show the resilience our ancestors have instilled in us," she concluded.
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